Friday, December 31, 2004


A couple nights ago my trusty Microsoft Sidewinder Game Pad pro broke, after half a decade of service. In all that time I still haven't come across a better controller for the PC or any console, so I just decided to snatch up another one. They're getting hard to find, seeing as they haven't been made in years. When you try to install the software you're warned that it hasn't been tested on Windows 2000 yet because the OS was not yet released when the gamepad was. Scary. But, it works just fine on 2000 and XP. Sometimes backward compatibility isn't so bad, I guess.

Why don't more companies make gamepads like this anymore? Microsoft doesn't even make PC controllers anymore, unless the rumors about the Xbox2 games and controllers being interchangeable with Windows turn out to be true. Granted, there isn't a big demand for gamepads on PC nowadays, but all of the current consoles have bad controllers, at least according to my limited experience with them. The Xbox controller isn't too terrible, but it's heavy and can't be used one-handed. The GameCube and PS2 controllers are awful. The Sidewinder Game Pad Pro fits my hand perfectly, and it works equally well with either one or two hands. This means that my left hand can use the pad and the left trigger, and my right hand can use a mouse. I just can't deal with WASD. I try to strafe left and I turn on caps lock, or I try to move forward and select weapon #2 or #3. Using the gamepad/mouse combo works extraordinarily well for every FPS I've played except for Far Cry, which requires so many keys that you might as well be writing an essay.


Anonymous said...

Clarify that Far Cry bit.

Travis said...

Far Cry uses just about all of the keys on the left half of the keyboard. I don't remember all of them, but I seem to remember something to the effect of WASD for movement, E for use/enter, F for cycle grenades, G for throw grenade, Z or X for lie down, Ctrl or C for crouch, V or T for night/heat vision goggles, and B for binoculars. It would be essentially impossible to finish the game without even one of those keys. Playing with my gamepad/mouse combo in Far Cry was significantly more difficult as I had to keep the gamepad above the left half of the keyboard and use my extra fingers to press keys. But, it was still easier to control than using just the keyboard... trust me, I tried.

I seem to remember America's Army requiring quite a few keys. I also seem to remember it being really frustrating and boring, so I stopped playing.